DIR Exploration holds the view that mineral exploration for high quality ore deposits is still — with sufficient vigilance and effort, and with simultaneous avoidance of functional-fixedness — a work task with a reasonably high probability of regularly being performed successfully.
The following link provides access to a mineral economics thesis proving technological improvement in physical mining methods (excluding downstream improvements in milling and other beneficiation technology) cannot compensate for declining ore grades and other favorable ore qualities — and also cannot compensate for increasing energy costs. These facts leave increased mineral exploration efficiency aimed at locating high quality ore deposits as the only upstream and midstream means to maintain US and global metals mine production capacity in an era of increasing energy costs and continued metal resource depletion: Turner 1998.pdf
Apropos of the above facts, see the following recommended series of Powerpoint presentations which show that, on the whole, mineral exploration efficiency has continuously declined despite greatly accelerated exploration expenditures: http://www.minexconsulting.com/publications.html. Speaking of the industry as a whole, it appears that its ‘knives’ have become progressively dull.